An early-morning fire apparently caused by lightning destroyed a barn and killed three horses Tuesday at Gerald A. Ford's Diamond A Farm near Versailles, Ky. According to the Woodford County Fire Department, the barn was completely engulfed when units arrived after the fire was reported at about 1:30 a.m. (EDT). The fire department did not list a cause of the fire, but Diamond A manager Ted Carr said the building was struck by lightning as thunderstorms moved through central Kentucky late Monday and early Tuesday.
"The night watchman down the road saw the lightning hit it," said Carr, noting that Diamond A's watchman had checked the barn just prior to the fire. "The whole thing just exploded."
Carr said the three horses that died in the fire included an Allen's Prospect yearling filly owned by Allen and Madeleine Paulson, who operated Diamond A as Brookside Farms before selling it to Ford. Also killed in the fire were a teaser and a retired lead pony. Carr said the blaze also destroyed some farm equipment, including tractors, as well as tack owned by his son, Ted M. Carr.
With the barn insured for $900,000, Carr said the total loss from the fire would exceed $1-million. "Everything in there was a total loss," Carr said.